VIEWS: 24 PAGES: 14 POSTED ON: 9/6/2011
Thief Deadly Shadows Gameplay Analysis Sean Kavanagh General Details Thief: Deadly Shadows was published by Eidos Interactive and developed by Ion Storm. It was released for both the PC and X-Box on May 25th, 2004. This gameplay analysis will be of the PC version. The game genre is primarily action, but elements from other genres are borrowed. For example, as with adventure games, the story plays a major role and fighting is not always the best solution to a problem. As with the previous Thief games, sneaking and using non-deadly items against enemies usually works out to be the best solution. Thief: Deadly Shadows is the third game in the Thief series. The first game, Thief: The Dark Project was released in 1998, followed by the sequel, Thief II: The Metal Age in 2000. There was also a special edition of the first game, which included three extra levels. According to Warren Spector, the Thief games are considered to be “first person sneakers” instead of first person shooters. From now on, Thief: Deadly Shadows will be referred to as Thief, or Deadly Shadows. Guards can be knocked out and carried and dropped somewhere out of sight from other guards. This is one of the game’s many stealth techniques. A relatively large team developed Thief. The following chart shows how many people worked on each role of the development of the game, sorted by group size. Game Development Role Number of Team Members Quality Assurance Team 13 Test Team 13 Artists 12 Programmers 9 Support Staff 8 Technology Group 7 Designers 7 Additional Art 5 Additional Production 4 Additional Programming 3 Additional Design 3 Additional Audio 2 Quality Assurance Leads 2 Additional QA 2 Studio Director, Project Director, Executive Producer, Associate Producer, 1 member Director of Technology, Additional Technical Management, Lead Designer, for each Art Director, Concept Art, Writing, Additional Writing, Audio Director, role Quality Assurance Manager, Quality Assurance Supervisor, Build Master Here is a pie graph of the above information, broken into general development categories. Each number represents the total number of members for each role. Team Roles Quality Assurance Testers 19 31 Artists 13 Programmers 11 19 12 Designers Other The breakup of group members seems to be sufficient and typical, with enough, but not too many, members working on each aspect of the game. Detailed Analysis Thief takes place in what most closely resembles the Middle Ages in Europe. There are many fantasy elements including monsters, ghosts, and magic. The backdrop for the game is called The City, which is a central “hubb” level that connects each mission together. You play as Garrett, a well-know master thief. This game once again involves the Keepers, Hammerites, and Pages, which should be familiar names to players of the previous Thief games. The Keepers are a group of scholars that raised Garrett and taught him how to become a thief. The Hammerites are a group of religious people who were the main villains in the first game. The Pagans are a group of strange, magical people. The main plot line involves Garrett saving The City from an alleged unknown disaster in the near future, called The Dark Age. The Keepers discover that Garrett plays a role in their book of prophecies. The game’s story is carried out through briefings at the beginning of each mission, cut scenes, books to read, and overheard conversations from non-player characters. Water arrows can be used to put out torches, lights, and candles, making the environment darker and easier to hide in. Some of the rules of the game involve Garrett being slow and weak. This restricts the player from easily blasting through the level and constantly fighting. Other rules involve being seen or heard. The player can be seen easily if they are caught standing in a pool of light with a fire arrow ready to be shot, as apposed to hiding in dark shadows. The player can be heard easily if they are running and jumping around on tiled floor, as apposed to crawling on moss ground. Other rules that involve stealth include the water arrows being used to put out torches and lights (to make the environment darker). The water arrows can’t be used to hurt enemies. Zombies can only be killed with holy water. Stone statues can only be killed with a special spell, acquired late in the game. The player can be hostile, neutral, or allied with the Hammerties and Pagans. The player can be allied with either group, but not both. If the player is hostile with a group, they will attack the player if they see him anywhere, and if they are neutral, they will only attack if the player has entered their territory. If the player is allied with the group, they will not be attacked, unless the player starts to attack them. Players can improve or reduce their faction status with the groups by doing certain actions. For example, the faction status with the Hammerites will be increased if the player kills an undead, but decreased if the player steals from the faction’s territory. To achieve the victory condition, the player must successfully complete all of the missions. Much of the graphics in the game are very blue. More variation in color would have been nice. The objectives and goals of the game usually involve sneaking around without getting caught and stealing items, including loot. The loot can be sold at stores, and all of the game’s items can be bought at the stores. Guards, the city watch, and monsters are some of the enemies lurking around in the game. If the player enters a territory where they are not supposed to be in (which makes up most of the game) and gets caught, the goals change to escaping and not getting killed. The goals of the player are different for each mission, and are displayed when the mission is started, and whenever the player decides to bring up the Objectives list. The mission objectives vary, but most of them involve entering a certain area and stealing certain artifacts. Objectives can change during the mission when unexpected circumstances occur. Objectives can be slightly altered or completely cancelled in the course of a mission, and new objectives can also be created during a mission. The main conflicts and challenges in Thief are to move around and steal while staying undetected, and are related to the rules, goals, and objectives. The player can interact with the game world in many ways. The following is a list of the game mechanics with a brief explanation of each. Movement Run Useful for making quick getaways when caught. Walk Useful for moving with minimal noise. Creep An even sneakier technique than walking. Strafe To move left or right without turning. Lean Corners of walls can be leaned around and doors can be leaned into to hear what is on the other side. Jump Jumping is noisy but also a very useful navigation technique. Garrett can mantle himself up to a ledge after jumping. Climbing Gloves Garrett can climb stone walls once he buys the climbing gloves. Crouch Crouching allows Garrett to crawl and be very quiet, as well as fit into tight places. Wall Flattening Garret can flatten his body against a wall, making it harder for him to become detected. Weapons Blackjack The blackjack is used when sneaking up behind an enemy and knocking them out. It is a very stealthy weapon because it is quiet. It does not kill the enemy with one hit. Dagger The dagger should be used as face-to-face combat and as a last resort. Arrows Broadhead A generic arrow that can be used to kill enemies. Fire A powerful arrow that explodes that is very loud and bright. Noisemaker A loud arrow used as a distraction to lure enemies away from Garrett. Gas An arrow that makes enemies pass out. Water A water arrow can be used to put out torches and lights, as well as clean up blood stains (which can alert other enemies that there is a thief around). Moss Moss arrows can be used to make hard surfaces soft, thus making them less noisy to walk across. Items Explosive Mine These mines can be used to set traps. When an enemy walks over one, it will explode. Flash Bomb These can be used to temporarily blind opponents, so they player can make a quick getaway. Gas Bomb This creates a cloud of poisonous gas. Health Potion This increases Garrett’s health. Holy Water Flask This is used to kill undead enemies. Oil Flask Oil flasks can be thrown on the ground to create a puddle where enemies will slip and fall. Lockpicks Very useful tools that can open almost any door or locked chest. Keeper Door Glyphs The glyphs are on walls and can be used to open secret passageways. Mechanical Eye Garrett has a mechanical eye and can zoom in and out on far away objects. Emotions The game’s atmosphere and mood does evoke some emotions. The game let’s the player feel as if they were a thief in the middle ages, but not just any thief. Garrett has a prophecy to fulfill and therefore holds the fate of The City in his hands. The ambient music sets the mood for some of the places in the game very well, but I feel that the game could use more music. I also didn’t care what happened to the main characters. While I think Garrett is the perfect role for the protagonist of the game with his independent demeanor and cool attitude, he is rather emotionless. One of the best emotions of the game is fear of getting caught. This is especially emotional if there are monsters close by. My favorite enemies in terms of emotions were the stone statues and haunts. The statues are huge and have a “stone” sounding voice and the haunts are like undead skeletons that make ghostly noises and noises of rattling chains. One of the most emotional levels in the game takes place in a haunted, abandoned insane asylum. It takes a long time for the enemies to appear in this level, and this makes it even more suspenseful since they can be heard throughout the level. Garrett meets a ghost in this level, a little girl, and unlike all of the other characters, some players may feel sorry for her. In conclusion, the environments create great emotions, while most of the characters create very little emotion. Fun Gameplay One of the missions takes place inside of a museum. The attention to detail, architecture, and amount of loot to steal is breathtaking in this mission. Most of the game is very fun to play. If I were to give the game a grade on a scale of 1 to 100, I would give it about a 90, a very high grade for my strict gameplay standards. It’s nice to play an action game where you don’t have to blast through the level running and shooting. I like sneaking around in and exploring the huge environments, trying to move undetected, stealing items, and occasionally fleeing or fighting. I liked the game just about as much as the first game in the series. The second game in the series was a good game, but it only had human guards and robots (no monsters), and therefore lacked variety. It was nice to see the inclusion of not only monsters from the first game, but new monsters as well. The game includes a helpful tutorial for players that are new to the series. For the most part, the game offered more of the same in gameplay terms when compared to the first two games, and this is a good thing. The light gem, which shows how visible Garrett is, has returned for a third time as well. Deadly Shadows uses a better graphics engine as well. It is also nice that the view can be changed from 1st to 3rd person at anytime, simply by pressing a key. The game looks good it both views. There were also some new gameplay enhancements. While some may not like it, I really liked how you had to interactively pick locks in this one. For the first two games, you would simply use the lock picks on doors until they opened. For this game you need to move each lock pick around in the lock using the mouse, and I like this a lot better because it is more interactive. I like how the missions were connected with a central “hubb” level as well (The City); instead of being a bunch of unconnected missions as with the previous two games. I also liked the variety of mission environments (a castle, a church, a clock tower, catacombs, an insane asylum, a prison, a haunted ghost ship, a mansion, etc.). Thief is fun throughout the whole game. I didn’t think any of the missions dragged. Improvements Thief: Deadly Shadows is a great game that I definitely recommend to fans of the Thief series, Splinter Cell series, or anyone who likes action games. However, there is room for the game to be improved. More levels with the zombies and haunts would have been nice. To get into the optional prison mission, Garrett must drown in water. I think that this is strange that this is the only way to get into this mission. Garrett starts this mission locked in a jail cell and must escape the cell, get his items back, and then escape from the prison. This enjoyable mission also contains some very funny dialog. It would have been nice if this mission was a required part of the game, and not optional. I also was disappointed with the lack of new arrows and items in the game. The only new inventory items are the climbing gloves and oil flasks. Some of the items from the previous games have even been removed, such as the rope arrows, slow fall and speed potions, scouting orbs, and frogbeast eggs. The climbing gloves are kind of like a replacement for the rope arrows, but they are hardly ever needed. I also don’t like how the sword was replaced with a short dagger. Swords fall to the ground as guards are knocked out or killed, but they can’t be picked up. If this many guards catch you at once, you’ll probably die unless you run away successfully. More variation in the human guards would have been nice. While they have many different skins, not too many different voices actors were used for the guards. The amount of dialogue is sufficient and well acted, but more voices would have been nice. Also, each guard is basically the same, whether they are male or female, or using a sword or hammer as a weapon. Some of the Pagans use magic fireballs however, and this is an exception. The artificial intelligence of all of the non-player characters is also very unintelligent, at least on the easy difficulty setting. They have trouble detecting Garrett, and when they do detect him, they having trouble finding him, and when they find him, they lose the player very easily if the player runs. If they can’t find Garrett, they give up quickly. Also, I noticed that if you blackjack an opponent, they will make a noise and then fall to the ground, but the other opponent standing right in front of the knocked out opponent won’t hear anything. More music would have been a nice touch as well. The shadow and lighting effects in the game look beautiful. Loading times, which occur within a mission (unlike the previous games, where the whole mission would load), spilt up the environment, and create a suspension of disbelief. This becomes a pain when you need to travel from one end of The City to the other. Some of the missions don’t seem quite as large as the ones in the previous games, but the game as a whole is long. I think the last part of the game lacked a good closure – it would have been a nice challenge to have to fight the demon. The graphics are very nice, and the lighting is great, but I think the game used too much blue. The previous games had inferior graphics and lighting, but made a better use of the color palette. The game also lacked an autosave feature. I also missed the comic book style cut scenes for the mission briefings. In Deadly Shadows, the mission briefings consist of text being read by Garrett. There are still cut scenes within the missions, but I think getting rid of the comic book style briefings was a step in the wrong direction. There is also a graphical glitch involving the characters. When they are killed or knocked out, they sometimes fall into strange unnatural positions (such as arching like a bridge). All of these critiques are minor however. Thief: Deadly Shadows is a great game, and a worthy sequel to the innovative and original series. The screenshots were taken from Gamespot.com.
Pages to are hidden for
"Thief"Please download to view full document